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Monday, June 12, 2006

Losing books on my shelves

I could have sworn I owned a copy of Martin Ingram's Church Courts, Sex, and Marriage, but when I needed it yesterday, I couldn't find it anywhere. Maybe it's time to start using one of those personal library cataloguing tools? Anyone use one? Are they actually useful or just an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder enabler and a time-wasting device?

  • At 6/12/2006 01:22:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    I once thought I lost a book--actually, I thought I'd lent it to a former student who has a habit of losing things I loan her. Turned out it was at the bottom of some random box, but it still took me a good three years to find it again.

    I've been thinking about the personal library thing too--might be a good idea with your move coming up. And then there are all the articles I've made photocopies of too.


  • At 6/12/2006 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    One of the most treasured books in my collection is a bit of mid-80's cultural history that one of my advisors handed over to me right at the beginning of my grad studies. He said something along the lines of "I hate lending books to graduate students, because I never get them back. You're not going to be one of those students, right?" I nodded, very seriously, no doubt giving precisely the impression that I was to be the most conscientious book-returner he would ever be lucky enough to know.

    Reader, I kept it. Gave back everything else the man ever lent to me, but that one somehow never left my shelf.

    Also, I have at least one of Simplicius' books and one of Inkhorn's, too. As for yours, H... I didn't do it.


  • At 6/12/2006 03:41:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    What do you have of mine?


  • At 6/12/2006 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Flavia wrote…

    If anyone does try out the library thing (which is indeed the name of one such program, isn't it?), I'd love to hear about it.

    I typed up a bare-bones book inventory when I last moved three years ago (with just the author/editor's last name and the short-form title, and sometimes the price I paid if the item was rare/out of print), and I'm in the process of updating it before this next move. However, since the information I have listed is so minimal--and since it's all organized, like my books, by chronological period--it's really not as useful a document as it could be.


  • At 6/12/2006 06:12:00 PM, Blogger IndyJones1967 wrote…

    I use LibraryThing.com, and absolutely love it. Of course it's a bit time consuming to get everything entered (though if you have an ISBN the site automatically comes up with everything else for you, including any available cover art). I have close to 1000 books (not counting what's in storage, and has not yet been entered), and I cannot recommend LibraryThing enough. I tell *everyone* to try it.


  • At 6/12/2006 08:25:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    Yeah, wait a minute -- what do you have of mine, Truewit? I've been wondering about a couple of books that I can't seem to find anywhere.

    Also, I have a book of Hieronimo's. Though not the Ingram book.


  • At 6/12/2006 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    Also, I once loaned a book to a grad student, who returned it, say, a year later, and appeared to have tied it to the rear bumper of his car and dragged it all over the state. Perhaps the next state, too. It was a paper-back, and it was all bent out of shape, dog-eared, the cover ... well, the bookseller's word is the best one I can think of: soiled. This hasn't stopped me from loaning further books to grad students, but ... well, I found that pretty weird.


  • At 6/12/2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    S: Marcus, Unediting the Renaissance. I'll get that back to you... someday.

    I: Some weird book of McKerrow essays. You said when you handed it to me, "I don't even know why I have this thing." Now, everytime I look at it, I say the same. I don't even know what I could have said that would have prompted you to give it to me.

    And, based on my own behavior, I never lend books to grad students. Although I would never have done what Inkhorn's student did. But that's mostly owing to my own book compulsions.


  • At 6/12/2006 10:09:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Hey, Inkhorn, what do you have of mine? Man, I'm never lending a book again. Ever. Except whenever.

    Also, I signed up for librarything.com (the free deal for now) and it is pretty cool. It seems like 1) fun in an OCD kind of way; 2) possibly useful once in a while; 3) not clearly worth the effort to input the books for the use I'd get out of it. But we'll see. I might do it.


  • At 6/12/2006 10:57:00 PM, Blogger jw wrote…

    I once "borrowed" a book and never returned it. And it changed my life.

    It was probably 1988, I was in high school, and I went over to visit my girlfriend while she babysat. It was a steady job for her: every friday night. While she was putting the kids to bed, I was checking out the homeowners' enormous collection of paperback books.

    There was a slim selection of Donne's poems. A great Penguin edition with a funky brown and green pattern on the cover. The edges were already yellowing. I've got it right here... let's see... published 1970.

    I carried it around in my back pocket for a year. On my breaks from my job at the grocery store, I'd climb up on top of a giant pallet of canned goods and read. It was my first introduction to non-Shakespearean Renaissance lit.

    Despite the time in-pocket it spent, it's in surprisingly good condition. The spine is rough, but the pages are still smooth and, um, unsoiled.

    Felt guilty once (and still occasionally feel a little twinge), but now I treasure the book. It's the one that stays near my desk.


  • At 6/12/2006 11:17:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    But what happened to the girlfriend?


  • At 6/12/2006 11:31:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    H: It's in my office, and I'm not sure of the title off-hand, but it's a documentary history of the execution of Charles I.

    T: ???? I have no idea what that would be. Are you sure it was me? I don't think I've ever read anything like that, and I can't quite imagine what would possess me to hand that off to you.


  • At 6/12/2006 11:38:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    I: I want my documentary history or whatever of Charles I or whoever back!


  • At 6/13/2006 12:20:00 AM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    H: absolutely. You know, I think I've had it since about 2000, and ... I haven't read it.


  • At 6/13/2006 02:11:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    I like the look of librarything.com, but it has the same failings as any personal library software -- it doesn't include any of the photocopies of chapters or journal articles that occupy two rows on my shelves (for the record, that's MY OCD). I've thought about using EndNote as a catalogue system, but it's so time consuming...

    Truewit: ha ha ha!!! : )


  • At 6/13/2006 03:13:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    Quick note - librarything.com only gives you 200 titles before you have to upgrade to a paid account ($10).


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